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By Curtis Pugh

Each person has a relationship to the Bible, the Word of God. Some have never heard the Word of God preached nor have they read it, not having Bibles themselves. Others who could attend places where the Word of God is preached refused to do so. Others twist the Bible to make it say what they want it to say. Peter wrote of Paul's writings saying, “...which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction,” (2 Peter 3:16).

Others have a healthy relationship to the Word of God. Paul wrote of his thanksgiving for the Lord's church in Thessalonica. He said: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe,” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Paul was thankful because when he had been there preaching the Word of God some of the population received his preaching for what it was: the Word of God. They did not reject what he said. Rather their old beliefs and ideas were changed because of the Word of God.

Paul explains why their ideas, beliefs and lives were changed. The Bible “effectually worketh” in those “that believe.” The Bible is for believers. It is in believers that it brings forth spiritual fruit. It is in the lives of believers that repentance and faith and amendment of life are seen. Referring to the Scriptures of his day the Psalmist wrote, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul...” (Psalm 19:7).

So we must ask: what makes an individual a believer? What brings a sinner to the place where the Word of God works effectually in them changing them and their behavior? The Bible reveals that there is a spiritual birth that causes sinners – unbelievers – to believe and to receive (welcome) Christ. The Bible says: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power [privilege or right] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” (John 1:12-13). Consider what is the cause and what is the effect here. If God births sinners spiritually because of something they did in order to bring it about these two verses are contradictory. For this passage says that the spiritual birth is not “of the will of man.” It is not something that man does. So the two verses above speak of some sinners who believed in and welcomed Christ when He was here on earth. The cause of their believing and welcoming Him was that they had been born “of God” and not of any act of their will. Jesus said, “...Ye must be born again,” (John 3:7).

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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